“Tonight’s Top Story…”

Posted: March 15, 2008 in Bureauacracy, Family, Government, Homelessness, Housing, Morality, Politics

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a "news junkie."

Maybe it’s just that I’m nosey.

Personally, I prefer to think of myself as someone who likes to be informed and aware of what’s going on in the world. Yet, over the last few days, I’ve pretty much have had more than enough of the news.  

I’m tired of hearing about soon-to-be former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, his prostitute – or mistress, or whatever it is her calls her – and his hypocrisy. Here’s a man who, as Attorney General of New York, prosecuted the very crime he’s guilty of. Yet, he had the impertinence to say,

"I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and that violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong."

It’s quite apparent that Governor Spitzer doesn’t have a genuine sense of right or wrong. Rather what he has is an obtuse attitude of "do as I say and not as I do."

Pretty bogus if you ask me.

Then of course, there are Senator’s Clinton and Obama – who between them have raised $272,768,083.00 and have already spent $218,641,582.00 in their bid for the White House.

Both are from the same political affiliation; pretty much saying the exact same things; making similar campaign promises; and yet, trying to convince everyone that they’re better for the job than the other one is. On top of that, are all of the claims – and denials – that the "race card" is being played.

Can you imagine? Between these two, they have spent nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on petty bickering, finger pointing and other political nonsense. A quarter of a billion dollars!

In the meantime, there are some 3.5 millions persons in this nation who don’t have a place to call home. All of them are living at sub-poverty levels. Many of them will go hungry tonight – and perhaps tomorrow. A significant number of them will have to sleep out of doors – with some of them having to face extremes in weather. Some of them may not live to see tomorrow morning.

They come from all walks of life. They are men, women and children. Young and old. Educated and non-educated. Some have mental disabilities and are unable to care for themselves. Others have physical disabilities. There are those that have additions. About 15% of the homeless have full time employment, but because they have jobs that pay only minimum wage, are unable to secure a place to live.

Some of them have lost their homes to foreclosure and now call the local homeless shelter "home." Many of them have been evicted from their apartments because they couldn’t afford rent increases. Some have lost their jobs due to cutbacks or outsourcing. Some have undergone a medical emergency that left them buried beneath a mountain of bills.

Of women who are homeless, approximately 50% have found themselves without a place to live because they’ve fled a relationship filled with domestic violence.

Two parent and single parent families with dependant children, who are turned away from local shelters due to the lack of available space, find themselves sleeping in their vehicles if they’re lucky enough to have one – otherwise they are forced to sleep behind buildings, doorways or in other public places.

All the while, many municipal governments are busy trying to figure out ways to adopt and enact ordinances to restrict the movements of the homeless in their downtown and other "high" traffics areas of their cities. They strengthen "no loitering" laws and appoint "special transient task forces" to shuttle the homeless to other less visible parts of the city. They pass laws to outlaw "dumpster diving," thus preventing the homeless from being able to collect aluminum cans and plastic bottles for recycling. Some municipalities have even made it illegal to feed the homeless in public places such as city parks and churches.

It would be nice to turn on the news one night and have the top story start out with something like:

Today, a consortium of all lawmakers from across the Nation, voted unanimously to fund a series of comprehensive programs to help the nation’s homeless.

John Q. Public, spokesperson for the consortium, stated that the lawmakers have finally realized that instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on such non-essential items as flower pots on every corner, $100 toilet seats, $20 light bulbs, and even all of the perks they receive as part of their elected post, they would be diverting those funds to ensure that the homeless finally get a chance at becoming a part of their respective communities.

"The consortium recognizes the need to treat the homeless with basic human dignity," Public said, "and are fully prepared to fund the necessary programs to ensure the homeless are afforded every opportunity to become a part of the community again."

Someone once said that people get the kind of government they deserve.

Looking at some of the elected leaders in just my community, I sure hope it isn’t true. If it is, we are in a lot of trouble.


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